Rotterdam, a city of the Netherlands, in the province of South Holland, on the Maas, 18 m. from the sea and 36 m. S. W. of Amsterdam; pop. in 1870, 116,232; in 1873 (estimated), 125,893. It is remarkable for its canals, the most recent being the Nieuwe Singel. The finest quay (Boompjes) is lined with trees and many new buildings and piers. On the Groote Markt (great square) is a bronze statue of Erasmus. There are about 15 places of worship, the largest being the groote kerk or great church of St. Lawrence. Rotterdam has a famous Latin school, a school of navigation, an industrial school, and a number of other literary and charitable institutions. The most notable public buildings are the exchange, the museum, and the zoological garden, one of the best in Europe. The finest promenade is the New park. The annual fair begins on the second Monday in August and lasts a week, during which the city presents a scene of uproar and revelry. Rotterdam was formerly a favorite resort of English tourists and adventurers.

The improved navigation of the Rhine and traffic by railway and steamers have greatly increased its trade, and there are new docks and other improvements, including new water works completed in 1872. A ship canal has recently been constructed from Rotterdam to Maassluis, through which nearly 900 vessels passed between March and December, 1872. The Moer-dyk railway bridge, finished in 1871, one of the longest in Europe, carries the railway to Fyen-oord, opposite Rotterdam, where are extensive ship yards and new docks and warehouses. The total number of vessels entering the port in 1872 was 3,710, tonnage 1,433,895, including 2,406 steamers, tonnage 1,105,427. The exports from Rotterdam to the United States in that year were valued at $1,104,033. Large quantities of refined petroleum are imported, and the imports of cotton in 1871 amounted to 115,595 bales. A direct steamship line from Rotterdam to New York was established in October, 1872. There are cotton factories, sugar refineries, brandy distilleries, and other manufactories. - Rotterdam received a town charter in 1272. A great fire occurred in 1563, and the town suffered considerably during the struggle with the Spaniards. In 1580 it had a vote in the states of Holland, and its progress has been remarkable ever since, especially within the past 15 years.